Not To Be Me To Be Me.

The dreadful process of breaking the mirror and yourself…

Cormoran Lee
20 min readApr 19, 2019


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Everyone is talking about transformation.

How come?

We arrived into an era that is almost impossible to feel whole, so we need to change something: The world, ourselves.. and everything that might have any sort of negative connotation. It comes down to A LOT. It seems that for the first time in history (for longer periods of time and for most of us) we are contstantly in the ‘red zone’.

Fight or Flight is the new fashion — We are all high on Cortizol and blindly killing ourselves on the biological level.

In addition, there is high friction between our attitude/awareness/expecatations vs reality.

But we know all we need to know! So, what is stopping us?

We are traumatic lil kids. And maybe just maybe we don’t know what we should know. Or maybe we know but we ignore and resist. Maybe we are just too ‘lazy being busy’?

For the last 5 decades or so the ‘fast pace life’ has become almost irreversible — The time bomb is ticking but we don’t even bother to check whether this bomb is ticking or maybe is just our hearts that is about to explode.

“Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner” In short, it’s time to move on.

You know those water kettles that are old and broken but you still love them so everytime they get into a boiling point you need to manually turn them off? It is dangerous and a big waste of time and worries. Just like this life. JUST THROW IT AWAY! so you’ll have to get a new one!

At some point in life we get into a dead-end — All of our tools are worn out, our perspective is totally false so we start to progress in circles. Nowhere.

All the warning signs are overly boring, because we know best and we are sure we are moving forward, so we keep on pressing the gas and we even shift the gear into Turbo because we start to lose our patience, we have no time to waste. Our goals are around the corner, it is almost over, I am almost there.

How much I like Indian Shamanic ceremonies? From 1 to 10 I’ll give it a 0.

Where is everyone going?! They all seem to be hungry for answers. Ayahuasca. Again and again.

Don’t we have enough homework already? I tend to ask.. So, why are you rushing to look for the quick-fix?

I was on the watch. No one is going to convince me to go… I will stay here alone and keep on learning Greek philosophy to reshape my attitude and I will focus on the essentials of life. You can all go and chase your instant spiritual growth, ce n’est pas pour moi.

What I didn’t know that I was resisting.. the more I refused to listen, the more I resisted and held strongly on the old version that wasn’t serving its own purpose any longer. It wasn’t at all in choosing a right or wrong strategy but just the mere painful fact that resistance intensifies everything and complicates life. Now that is a real waste of time.

Friends of friends came over to run a small Shamanic ceremony that’s divided into 3 phases:

  1. Kambó- Frog poison on fresh burns in the arm/leg.
  2. Rapé- Instensive herbal snuff into the nose.
  3. Sananga- Spicy eye drops.

From a modern perspective, that could look like self turture, but apparently there are lots of benefits such as sharp clarity to the mind, purification of the body and so on.

Sitting there for a few hours and being treated seemed to be like half dreaming.. All these songs and instruments, prayers and funny feelings when going through the process:
People vomiting, crying, humming, being in deep pain and crumbling on the floor.

At some point of the ceremony I started to open up, finally, I couldn’t resist it any longer because I liked the challenge and it reminded me of things I like doing- like testing my limits and see how how much pain I can endure while staying calm and focused.

Many new and refreshing insights came into my mind — Like the urge to help my mother that came up for the first time in my life. In that moment I certainly knew — Cormoran, kicking as many doors as possible in the next months will be the only way to quicken your ‘inner thunderstorm’ to pass.

Because a strong person at times can become so acclimatize to a certain degree of suffering and enduring that he holds onto the pain just to keep on feeling strong and loyal to himself, but that just waekens him and leaves less chances to be truly ‘in his element’.

And I am so tired of suffering… for the first time of my life, something inside of me breaks my restless attempts to keep on successeding. Harder & Harder doesn’t work— A simple formula I used to practice and take the biggest trophies with, this time it was self-destructive.

1+1 = -2 & 1–1 = 2 Maybe just maybe I’d need to erase myself in order to become greater than myself?

A few more weeks passed by and 3 of us, best friends, partners and roommates kept on going in circles- Endless conversations about the essence of life, our relationship and our dreams.

Who we truly are and what we are here for?

The words and the explanations started to spin like a broken record so we brought an extra professional coach to give us a hand.

There was still some sort of blockage, mainly from my side — All the beautiful words in the world seemed empty of meaning and useless since they are absent from our daily lives in feelings that give us the indication they are unreal.

“Don’t believe everything you think”

That is a massive quote that holds my hand whenever I can’t seem to find a correlation between my reality and others’ reality.

So, there is a gap here and that is certain, it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong, we just have to find the bridge to connect between our perspectives so we could keep on supporting each other in our mission whatever that might be. First of all- Existence.

I try to imagine a person hanging on a cliff with 1 hand, barely holding on. Another person that is standing on the edge is screaming: I love you, just hold on there and I am coming for you. The hanging person is drained out of energy and doesn’t respond nor collaborate, but he feels like climbing back on his own because he lost his trust and he doesn’t have the patience nor the humility to ask for help, so at the end he falls by trying too hard, just when the help was around. but he just couldn’t believe the other person really cared for him and all he wanted was to reach a hand.

Who wants to take the main role in this movie?! Oopsy I raised a hand.

The biggest door arrived and I wasn’t sure if it’s time to kick it. Let’s kick it anyway!

Some friends and colleagues went away for a week to go through a deep detox. It was a beautiful place not so far away and the conductors were our friends. At the end of their detox week, an Ayahuasca ceremony was planned to take place.

We communicated that we will be going together with our big clumsy van and take some precious friends from abroad to join the life ‘spanking’ experience.

For some reason it made sense for the first time to go for it. Everything seemed just right to stop saying no and start saying yes- Just for the sake of saying yes! “just kick that door Cormoran. Just kick that door Cormoran.”

A night before our grand departure, I started having second thoughts, and this whole journey seemed useless to me. Why:

  1. I am having a virus for over 6 months that I fail to heal from. It sucks up my energy and it frustrates me.
  2. I am stuck between two rooms, which are not ready for accommodation so I feel like living in a construction site. Everything is a mess around my lil house.
  3. There is always so much going on, I literally just want to take a break from everything and relax for one weekend. Sleep it over.

Open conclusion: If so many unsolved issues are already up in the air, should we go and continue digging to see what is the deeper problem beneath the surface? (oh, we found dog’s poo, so surprising)

I communicated that to my friends, and they didn’t try to convince me otherwise which made me reduce my resistence for the first time in ages.

We had a wonderful Friday dinner with many loved ones and guests, at the end we smashed some Brazilian funny beats at the lounge and we started dancing like ‘foolish rhythmless youngsters’.

That playful vibe took me back to my essence, the essentials, the very me I was craving to feel again. So I grabbed my friend from abroad which I highly value for his rational/analytical thinking (the opposite of me) and we discussed again the WHY YES joining this journey. At the end we agreed together that it’s the right thing to do. (We have been trying soooooo much already)

We went back to the lounge and shook our booties for the rest of the night, not caring too much about our ugly moves, how many hours of sleep we’ll be getting or any other unjustified worries.

We finally hit the road early in the morning, listening to loud fun music in the van, laughing and getting our vibes up in the skies.

Not us that day unfortunately.

We stopped by the Organic Market to get some goodies and make a picnic before the ceremony’s regulations start to take place (We have been cheating with the preparation)

It was a fairly cold, grey and rainy day but that didn’t stop our old half broken van to drive us 200K south to the house of the ceremony’s conductors.

Arriving to their house, something fell on me, I wasn’t my own cheerleader and this whole thing just didn’t lift up my vibe. I had a siesta on the hammock while listening to the rain.. Trying to zoom out without thinking too much.

Another few hours of chilling, cooking and cozing around passed by before we decided to hit the location and start preparing ourselves mentally for what is about to come.

Arriving to one of the most picturesque and vibrant places in Brazil.

Still in my narrow mindset, I couldn’t figure out why we are heading for an Ayahuasca ceremony if we could surf, hike and mess around town. Just like we were designed to do. Why all this ghost-busting again?

Not my cup of tea (‘Not my beach’ in Portuguese)

We even brought skateboards which initiated a dream to skate and get foolish after diving into the Shamanic adventure.

In the last few weeks in our partners deep conversations we discussed greatly about flow, play and health. We finally understood how fundamental it is to live a simple joyous life. There isn’t always a need to look for new philosophies and insights in far-away lands and cultures. Let’s keep it simple and get dirty just like we used to and what brought us to this point at the begin with alright?! Alright, not alright, yes alright, not alright, yes, no, yes!!!

Lots of self-talk is already a very clear indication for an uncontainable mess inside our shrinking heads!

*The absolute opposite of ‘Flow’.

After driving offroad for some minutes we arrived to where the ceremony took place.

It was like a hidden little paradise: a few houses in the jungle, swimming pools, grassy patches, tropical fruits and flowers and the best part was the cold stream that was running just below the property.

The place held a very disorganized energy, things seemed to be out of order whether was it logistics, cleaniliness or was it just the consistent rain that turned everything into being a swamparty.

We took off our cloths and rushed to the stream. It was already dark and fairly cold but we felt like refreshing ourselves and washing all energy before immersing into the ceremony. The water was cold and muddy and it was so so nice. Like a childhood dream comes back to life, a bunch of adults splashing and enjoying the simple things of life. Water.

I personally felt a bit sick and weak but I didn’t express that to anyone as I was still trying to defend my right to be strong and resilient. I didn’t want to whine and publicly announce that this whole journey was already putting me off.

There wasn’t anything in particular that disturbed me but my own mind and the feeling of this new playground — A spiritual one, Shamanic or whatever flavor that wasn’t my favorable. I wanted to play and rest like a big baby.

Big babies cry, play, sleep, eat and cuddle in between. Where is the baby’s ceremony — sounds like fun right? But no, we don’t have time to be immature and to go backwards because we are now about to raise our consciousness and step into being our own masters. Hmmmmmm.

Have we forgotten all our history in order to jump into the next life? It literally feels like a gate to hell disguised in heaven’s mask. (Or is it me resisting again?)

Whatever that is, I’m coming in with my disco shoes. So watch out nasty DJ.

Before we managed to understand what was going on there, we found ourselves carrying mattresses, pillows, carpets and whatever we could find to arrange the new space we were about to spend the night in.

The landlord and the ceremony conductors were not on top of things and we became the staff and the patients simultaneously which created a very strange vibe. Even though we are all very down to earth people and we always like to be involved and offer a hand, that was just an absolute mess and the energy of that night started OFF COURSE.

Imagine that you and your friends invsted a weekend to play golf somewhere. Upon arriving to the golf course you realize the organizer didn’t make sure there are golf balls. So you try to find on your own balls that flew ‘off course’, so you end up wasting hours going through the bush, getting mosquito bites and mentally agitated. After collecting enough balls you could finally go back and try to enjoy the fun weekend. Good luck.

We used to be professionals in ‘being cheerful when it sucks’ but that just felt a bit strange and disturbing because someone wasn’t responisble to prepare that place. Or maybe that is just us being blameful? Do we always have to take everyone’s rocks on our shoulders and say — Thank you, no worries?! ;)

This house is called Crystal House. It was a low ceiling, pale white, plastic like space with a single pilar in the middle covered with mirrors. A few paintings on the walls of some Hindu gods just made it look even more treacherous.

Are you kidding me, no seriously?! Swimming pools, ‘Made in China’ construction and Hindu gods? What the f*ck?!?!

If I could go back in time I’d freeze the scene and try to observe this funkylicious night as an outsider— I am standing in the middle of the room, closing my eyes and playing this song in my head. (Trying to let go of what makes sense and what’s not because this is already such a prank)

Lyrics for the song:
“Come as you are, come away with me
This ecstasy has me prescribed to a daily vacancy
Cocoa Butter and butterflies and chakras and maple trees
Infect me with your mystique trigonometry let me see it all
Why don’t you break all us off
Why don’t you park in my walls
I’m mean your hands are digging me
Why not get yo head involved
I mean between the birds and bees you’re stingin’ me
Pollinate and make a fern for me
Build ya church and fellowship with me
Preach ya sermon, pass along ya seed for seeds
Communion unity for tea
But please forget the Tea
The pretention, fees, and dead beliefs
Socrates, obsoletes
The absolutes, the truths in me
The God in you, earthly dues
The leaving-soon-inside-the-box-so-long-farewell-to-you-my-friend
And when we reascend to send these memories..

No I don’t have a gun” x10

This painting explains the feeling I had inside of me that night.

I was carrying a life-time of challenges:12 years of terrible schooling, 5 years of extreme Navy SEAL service, 5 years of nomadizing (Mainly working in Africa) around the world and the cherry top 3 years of establishing a new project without ever stopping.

Am I allowed to cry, to rest, to feel truly vulnerable, to change what’s not working? To take my hat off, to say I love you, to say forgive me, to say I need your help, to say I am wrong, to fight for what I believe, to say something different out of my own solid and salty box that’s floating in the depths of the oceans for some time now….

You’ll meet me only if your name is Poseidon and you are present out there in the midst of the waves, somewhere refreshing and far-away from human logic - where breathing is a must, and thinking rationally is a nottt!

Cape Town, Crayfish factory, the place I used to start my swims and feel deeply in my element.

Can I just wake up exactly there and forget about this whole night?

It was already too late.

I took a decision and I already kicked that door.

The door is now, finally, partially opened and I saw the monsters inside= my own thoughts that were piling up for years. I just kept on kicking these monsters inside, and the door was left locked since there was no reason to open it, all of my troubles are in one place, kept safe, and hidden from my daily life.

Since I lost the key long time ago and never even looked for it. Lately I started hearing the monsters from the other side hitting the door and trying to get out. imagine them on one side knocking violently and me on the other side trying to fix their damage. just before they managed to escape, I felt like: ‘I hold the steering wheel here’ so let’s just put a dynamite next to it and count to 10. The explosion was very nasty.

We were finally sitting in our places, a big circle of pares sitting on mattresses, spoiled by blankets and pillows.

It felt like we are the audience and also the technical team behind the scenes because the conductors kept on orgnizing their stuff in front of us and playing some songs to warm up their voices and fine tunning the stereo system.

Objects have been stuffed behind a curtain ‘like we don’t see what you’re doing’ and the energy was again, not smooth.

They finally gave us an introduction and made some explanations about what we are all about to experience that night.

Bla bla bla.. the energies finally became rather funny and ‘whatever vibe’.

They started calling one by one to sip from the ‘Amazonian Tea’ and sit back in place. It was brown, bitter and strange but fairly easy to drink. Like coffee mixed with tea and wine or so.

The space was full of mosquitoes, so we started playing with them and trying to get them one by one so we forgot all about that friction and heaviness from the beginning. We were the noisy corner of the space and the conductors didn’t like it. We were like restelss kids that wanna play but not sit silently and follow boring instructions.

‘The opened door’ started to be a lil bit more hilarious than stressful and the tension just melted completely. The tea seemed to effect nearly no one and it was late already, so some of us just went for a siesta or a meditation session.

It was hot and mosquito-full so at times I would wake up, take my shirt off and try to observe what is happening around me — I saw people meditating and napping and I thought to myself: “c’mon is that it? Am I ‘out the zone’ because I do not meditate or concentrate on the upcoming feelings or is just not my thing and my body just ignors it physiologically?”

Whatever, let’s just go with the night and see what happens next.

My mattress buddy was a very good friend of mine that came to visit from abroad. He was trying to gaze his eyes with mine and I didn’t know why. I was ignoring him for a while because I didn’t want to keep on “looking outside” and perhaps try to just tiny bit take it seriously. But my friend insisted and was looking at me like a ‘Latin model trying to seduce me’- I turned to his face and he had a ridicilous facial expression that could be interpreted in only one manner — laughter. Everyone around the room started laughing and the conductors didn’t like it, but we didn’t really care and laughed sporadically one by one.

One of the conductors started to move around the circle, spraying people’s faces with water and asking “Are you influenced by the tea?”

It seems that after all at least half of us didn’t feel the influence of the tea and people were just chilling and laughing out of sheer bordome.

At this point I wasn’t sure yet what an Ayahuasca ceremony must feel, look and be like so I was kind of observing and questioning it.

It is truly interesting that 95% of the people I work and interact with regularly have done that at least once but the stories didn’t pass on properly and it left a big cloud of dilemmas in my brain.

People usually describe it as “staying up all night hallucinating wildly and having turning points in their conception of themselves and life, while singing Indian songs around a big bonfire.” I can do that.

But that night just seemed to be something different.

The conductors called us once more to have a second sip. My mattress buddy and I were saying, “cool, so it’s not that boring and more is to come”

I wasn’t sure how much tea each participant should get, but I saw that after 1 cup the conductors argued about giving me another one: “Look at him, he’s big and strong and he doesn’t feel anything by now” the other responded: “But that’s his first time taking an Ayahuasca”

At the end I recieved an additional half a cup to ‘the normal dose’.(Which was the compromise between them two)

We went back to our mattresses.. the conductors took two of my pillows and it annoyed me. I was uncomfortable but now I decided to put ‘my worrior mask’ on — sit on the floor with a proud & open chest and concentrate on the upcoming influence of the tea.

Despite the strange warmth I felt in my tummy, I kept on focusing. They say you should hold the tea inside your system as much as possible and recieve its influence with open mind because “when it hits you it hits you.”

The warmth sensation turned into some funny hallucinations and I thought I was the one creating them because I was putting my attention on the right things and I finally allowed myself to dream.

The hallucinations turned very psychedlic and I knew at this point the tea is in my system.

I got up and stood in the middle of the room. The hallucinations were something so unfamiliar to me since drugs were not part of my life until now, and alcohol was also dropped behind years ago. I was the most sober guy around. I also knew drugs are not for me because my system is too edgy anyway. All I need to do is to stick to the essentials — Drugs are off the menu strictly.

Well, history is history and now is now. life is too short anyway to over-contemplate everything.

Before I was able to enjoy the hallucinations, (just a few minutes afterwards) they have doubled and tripled and it was a roller-coaster of awesome illusions. my mattress buddy was tripping big time and the energy was too much for me so I went to the other side of the room and I was busy laughing about him, because at the moment it all seemed so surreal and I was trying to still grab reality in a simple and childish way.

My matt buddy’s energy went from hilirious to horrifying so swiftly that I couldn’t comprehend it nor contain it.

At this point the ceremony in my eyes became rather frightning as the imagination under the influence of the tea turned beautiful images into a crime scene with lots of blood, dragons, witches and whatever this brain can produce. (no kidding, I saw it)

The conductors approached us both and tried to ‘wake us up’ and make us relax, because apparently my buddy and me were very problamatic since we ignited each other: I was overwhelmed from his energy and couldn’t hold myself still and he was busy screaming my name.

My buddy at this stage was approached by another few people to help him out because it went absolutely terrifying. Simultanesouly the conductor woke me up and told me to respect other people’s experiences, so I asked: “Can I go outside?” she said: “Y-E-S, P-L-E-A-S-E”

It was probably around midnight at this stage and it was heavily raining nonstop all day long.

The psychedelic illusions ceased at this point and I was fairly aware.

At this stage I was convinced the night is going to get messy, so I was looking for my wet Speedo swimsuit and tried to look for a suitable place to change clothes. I went to the second floor and for some reason I didn’t want to use the showers, they seemed clastrophobic and too neon like shining. So I went up a floor where was a mysterious door. I opened the door and got into the darkness. Before I got completely naked, a woman scared me away and gave me ‘Get the fuc#$ out of my house’ look. In the showers I finished the process and packed everything I had in my bag, including a necklace, a ring and literally everything which is not the Speedo.

While stuffing my things in the bag downstairs I met my partner and told him: “No, this is not funny anymore! This is not safe, this drug is taking over and it is going to get ugly” At least I was aware of what is about to come and had a somewhat clear state.

What comes next is extremely personal and it also involves other people stories. Moreover, it reveals conflicts between certain individuals.

At this stage I choose to keep the second half ‘behind the scenes’ in order to respect my friends and partners and to allow myself to process this ‘life-hammering’ experience slowly so the lessons could be learned gradually and fully.

I open my heart for you readers because I believe in:

  1. Transparency.
  2. Freedom of expression.
  3. Impact and social responisiblity through story telling.

If this story banged your big brains somehow, I have a few requests:

  1. Take yourselves seriously and know when it’s time to ask for help. Sometimes our minds get so cloudy that we can’t see reality as it is anymore.
  2. Re-consider every recommended treatment and research on your own what’s good for you. The consequences might be irreversible.
  3. Remember that every gift in life is wrapped with a problem. The bigger the problem is the bigger the gift is. Just unwrap it baby! (carefully, you might get a bomb;)
  4. Authorize yourselves to say NO. You don’t have to do what everyone does.
  5. You are welcome to send me a private message in case you find yourselves in big trouble without a way out.



Cormoran Lee

I pour my heart involuntarily into words, since I found that writing is the ultimate solution for a nightmarish sailing journey. I can still connect with you :)